Backstage at Evil Dead the Musical

Yep, more Evil Dead. This time I did a tour of the theater! Our set was super simple but really well-designed, especially my little cellar where I spent about 80% of the show. I also filmed our greenroom area, where we kept all of our props and costumes. And of course, our blood props. Lots of blood for this show!

Let me know what you think! And ask any questions that you have about the show or the production, I’d be happy to answer them!

Get Ready With Me! Evil Dead: The Musical

Y’all, I LOVED being part of this show. I have at least two more Evil Dead videos coming too! But first, here’s a Get Ready With Me video. I filmed this backstage before our last performance and I had a blast. Leave a comment if you have any questions! (Please, y’all…ask some questions. I want to make some new friends!!)

(also you can read some more about my experience in the show here)

Makeup Products Used:

Benefit the Porefessional Primer

Maybelline Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Foundation

Maybelline Fit Me! Concealer

Benefit Benetint

Maybelline Fit Me! Powder

TheBalm blush in Palm Springs

Benefit High Beam

TheBalm Mary Lou-manizer highlighter

Elf Matte setting spray

Nyx Tres Jolie Gel Pencil eyeliner in black

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded

Urban Decay Naked Palette (Sidecar on the lid, Naked and Buck in the crease, Darkhorse in the outer corner)

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette (Naked 2 in the crease, Foxy on the browbone)

L’oreal Infallible shadow in Iced Latte (inner corner)

Ciate London Fierce Flicks black liquid liner

Benefit Bad Gal mascara

Rimmel Scandaleyes Retroglam mascara

Tarte Light Camera Splashes! mascara

Colourpop liquid lipstick in Bumble

Evil Dead: The Musical (yes, it’s a thing and it’s great)

(all photos are from Chris Bishop Photography)

(also warning: sweary words and rude gestures ahead, because, well…it makes sense if you see the show)

I had no idea what Evil Dead: The Musical was. Didn’t even know it was a thing. I hadn’t even seen any of the movies. I was doing a production of Kiss Me Kate when one of the actors asked me if I was familiar with it. I said no, and he kind of gave me a look and said “look up the part of Cheryl.”

Lo and behold, I fell in love. It turns out that the theatre was doing a production of Evil Dead in the fall, and even though it was only February I WAS READY TO GO.

Evil Dead is the story of “five college students on their way to an old abandoned cabin in the woods.” Not even kidding, that’s the first song.

(we’re in a car. you can tell because of the steering wheel.)

Now, these five college students are breaking into this cabin and they accidentally unleash a terrible evil, and people wind up as Deadites…or just dead. It’s a campy, tongue-in-cheek, raunchy musical with a lot of blood. A lot of blood.

I wanted to be in this show.

Cheryl is the younger sister of Ash, the protagonist. She’s kind of a stick in the mud, a little whiny, and she tries to convince the others to leave the cabin. Naturally they don’t listen to her, and naturally she’s the first one to get turned into a demon. So Cheryl spends the first fifteen minutes of the show cute and sweet, and then turns into a foul-mouthed demon locked in the cellar, and pops up every so often to deliver a really bad pun.

I REALLY wanted to be in this show.

I think I prepared more for this audition than any other audition- which is saying something. I sang “Dead Girl Walking” from Heathers. Ordinarily, singing a song like that is probably frowned upon, but when you’re auditioning for a character who sings lines like “I heard you fuckers laughing at me and calling me a prude/let’s see if you’re still laughing when I rip out your fallopian tubes,” you probably have a little more leeway. We did the dance call to “Do the Necronomicon” (which is a great number) and read a couple of scenes, and then we were sent on our way. And I was cast as Cheryl!

The trickiest thing was balancing rehearsals with Heathers. Luckily, the theaters were about ten minutes apart, and the directors were flexible, and my role in Heathers was considerably smaller. Heathers rehearsal was at 6pm Tuesday-Saturday and Evil Dead was at 7pm, Monday-Thursday, so on overlapping days (read: almost all of them) I would stay for the first half of Heathers and then go to Evil Dead till 10 or so. Did I mention I was also rehearsing for a cabaret at the beginning of the process too? And I was starting a new job training because Great Movie Ride was closing? Yeah. I didn’t sleep for months. Luckily Heathers was in September and Evil Dead was in October, so I had a two week span to focus on Evil Dead when Heathers closed.

(Cheryl becomes a demon because she gets raped by evil trees. Yeah. That was an interesting scene to block.)

The rehearsal process was smooth yet daunting. Smooth, because our director, Tad, had played Scotty in the Las Vegas production of the show for two and half years and he knows the show super well. Daunting, because I have never played a role so physically demanding. The show starts off fairly standard, just a nice little opening number and opening scene in the cabin. The next time I came onstage, I got raped by trees (which was done with the guys playing Ed, Jake, and Fake Shemp dressed as blacklight trees picking me up and tossing me around). Then I ran offstage and had about ten seconds to take off my hairbow, my glasses, my coat, and my long skirt so I could run back onstage covered in blood. (We did some of the blood before the show while I was putting my makeup on, and then we touched it up every time I ran backstage. Which wasn’t often.)

Then Alex (who played Ash) and I had to run around to the top of the house to come down the side stairs for the bit with a bridge and I sang an overly dramatic song called “It Won’t Let Us Leave.” Honestly the inspiration for my facial expressions for that number all came from this Youtube video with multiple dramatic impressions of “On My Own” from Les Miserables.

After that I had an extremely short scene to run around to the back, get my blanket and my mask, get some more blood, and run onstage for the sequence of events that nearly killed me. I sang the first half of my big number “Look Who’s Evil Now” (where I dramatically revealed myself to be a demon, complete with a super awesome mask)…

  

…collapsed on the floor, then immediately came up to sing another verse and attack everybody else…

…then got picked up and tossed in the cellar (which was TERRIFYING and I genuinely fell more than once. Plus the time Alex slipped on the stairs and almost dropped. Also I was screaming and shouting while they carried me around.)…

…and then popped right back up for some dialogue and then backing up Shelly on her verse…

…and then I had a two minute song to catch my breath before my next song, which involved singing along with a demonic puppet moose. Did I mention that I was screaming and/or belting for most of this? No wonder I was so tired after every performance! The first time we ran this sequence on the set I literally had to get my inhaler. It was insane. But still, so much fun.

I spent most of the show after that hiding out in the cellar and popping up to say something inappropriate or a pun (sometimes inappropriate puns). It was great, and my thighs got an insane workout from all the squats I was doing in the cellar. You can see from the photos of the set how small the cellar was; I had enough space to sit cross legged without hitting my head, but not much else space. We also tried putting metal chains over the top of the cellar door, but that ended quickly- they were too heavy, they were too loud, and they kept getting caught in the cellar door.

My favorite bit, gross as it sounds, was spitting on people. It took some doing to get it to look good onstage (who know there were skills involved?? I’m putting it on my resume). Our blood techs made me a special little bottle of spitting blood that was kept in the fridge between performances, and I would set the bottle with my props in the cellar at the top of the show. It was made mostly from strawberry milk liquid flavoring and corn syrup, and at the right cue I would take a swig, crouch under the cellar door, and pop out.

I spat on Ash and bit Ed; for Ed I would mostly let the blood dribble out of my mouth (ONE NIGHT I MISJUDGED AND A GLOB WENT INTO MY BRA. WHAT A MISTAKE.) but for Ash I would take a literal spittake. One night I spit too hard and it shot right into his mouth and I felt so bad, but he was like “no, that was great!! Do it again!!”

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I spent most of the show in the cellar, but I did come out at the end as part of the Deadite backup for “All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed By Kandarian Demons” (which I adore and is now a potential audition song in my book). And then I died (so I popped squib #1)

I then came back to life and sang “Do the Necronomicon,” “It’s Time,” and “We Will Never Die” with the rest of the Deadites- all really fun songs.

(also JUST LOOK AT THAT CHAINSAW. Alex rehearsed with a sock over his hand until we got the chainsaw; we called it Lil Nubbin)

We also did a really great, extremely bloody fight scene. I got the last death and the last line, which is from the original film series- I got to stumble back to my feet, flip Ash off and scream “hey Ash- how ’bout I make like a tree, and fuck you!” And then he shot me over his shoulder and I died dramatically. (squib #2)

(However- every single night I popped the squib right into my hair. Once I popped it so hard against my collarbone that I bruised my boob. And multiple times I popped the squib into my mouth, and the blood was like 80% soap and it was SO GROSS. And there was a night that I was lying dead on the floor and Alex slammed the butt of the shotgun on my forehead. And there was a night he stepped on my hand. And one time he slammed the cellar door on my head and knocked me out for a few seconds in the middle of a performance. We really are friends, I swear.)

After this scene, though, all the Deadites had to run backstage, rip off our masks, and put on goofy hats to play random S-Mart patrons, while Ash tied a blue S-Mart apron on. Yes, we were all still covered in blood. It’s fine, don’t question it. Pretty much everybody used multiple hats, but I used the unicorn one every time just because I really liked it. And then we sang the last number, “Blew That Bitch Away,” and that was that!

I’ve worked with the Moonlight theater several times already (I’ve done Seussical, Kiss Me Kate, and The Mousetrap there) and usually their shows run for four weeks- Friday night, Saturday night, and a Sunday matinee. Evil Dead was a little different. We ran for three weeks with Friday night, Saturday night, Saturday at midnight, and Sunday night. That’s right- we did a performance at 7pm on Saturday, immediately dispersed to get all the blood off ourselves and our costumes, and came back for another performance at 11pm. It was super intense. Luckily a couple of people lived nearby, so we would split up to shower, and then come back to do another show.

Honestly, even though this show was so crazy and intense and chaotic, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Cheryl is up there with one of the top roles I’ve ever played, and I definitely want to play her again. And we had such insane audience feedback- we had people who came back five times and people who drove from towns and states away, even a group that came from fourteen hours away! We took photos with the audience afterwards too, and it was just so much fun. Out of twelve performances, we sold out eight, and the rest were 85% full or more.

Here’s hoping I get another chance to go to the cabin in the woods again!

(Do I look like a crazy person in this curtain call photo? Absolutely. Do I look like I’ve had the time of my life? Absolutely!)

(Also you can see squib #3- we popped them into the audience for curtain call. #blessed)

“great pate, mom!” (that one time I finally did Heathers)

HEATHERS. IT’S THE DREAM, RIGHT??

I discovered Heathers on Pandora about two years ago- I was playing my Broadway playlist on my way to work, as one does, and “Beautiful” came on. Well, it’s a long song, so I sat in the parking garage at work listening to the end (and was almost late clocking in, oops. But so worth it.) I just don’t understand why more theaters don’t do it- I’ve been waiting for someone to put it on in my area ever since.

Luckily, not only was CTCO doing it (fifteen minutes away from where I live!) but my friend Taylor, who played Horton in Seussical with me, was directing it. So I was over the moon to audition. I sang “What It Means to Be a Friend” from Thirteen and called back for the ensemble. Was I disappointed to not be called back for a lead? Absolutely. But a lot of incredibly talented people auditioned. And I also went into this knowing that I was probably going to end up in Evil Dead, and the rehearsal schedules would overlap. There was no way I could feasibly play leads in both shows. The callback for Heathers was a lot of fun, and to my surprise Taylor held me to read for the role of Veronica’s mom. I ended up getting the part! Usually Mrs. Sawyer is doubled with Ms. Fleming, the teacher, but we went with this instead and it was a blast!

Rehearsals got a little bit tricky, though. Heathers overlapped with Evil Dead, which performed out of a theater ten minutes down the road, so usually I would attend the first hour or two of Heathers rehearsal and then go down the road for Evil Dead. Poor Shane barely saw me- I was rehearsing six nights a week, on top of my new job! (Because of course Movie Ride closed during the rehearsal process and I had to start training for Safaris immediately. Yikes.) And for a short time, the It’s a Date cabaret overlapped too. Ugh. No wonder I was so stressed for so long. The only way any of this worked, though, was communication. All my directors and stage managers knew exactly what was going on, and they were really flexible. So if I had to miss Heathers rehearsal completely for the Evil Dead photocall, I could, and if I needed to miss Evil Dead for a Heathers full run, I could. I’m so glad I didn’t have to pick, because I’m honestly not sure which one I would have chosen.

The music for Heathers is super complicated. Like yeah, I knew the lyrics for the most part because I’ve played through the cast recording approximately a million times. But the parts. OH LORD. “Yo Girl” is literally the most complicated thing ever; I was honestly not too upset when I found out I didn’t need to sing that song after all since Mrs. Sawyer had to be onstage for bits of it. So if you end up in a production, don’t think you can slide by since you have the OCR memorized. It’s so specific.

Our choreography was great; both our choreographer and our dance captain are Disney entertainment and they are so good at what they do. As for me? Well, dancing is not my strong suit. It’s not. I know this. So I struggled, especially since I inevitably missed rehearsal time (because I was also learning Evil Dead choreography and struggling there equally!). There was a lot of checking in with the dance captain and with a couple members of the ensemble that I trusted to make sure that I was remembering things correctly. (Usually I wasn’t. But I finally caught on by tech week. Finally.)

I ended up taking two tracks in Heathers, one as Mrs. Sawyer and one as a student at Westerberg High. The director was really great about us developing a real feel for our characters and finding unique characterizations. So of course we had the Nerd and the Republicanette and the other written ensemble characters, but we each had really specific characters for each ensemble member, which really made a difference in the strength of the show. I described my characters as “Carrie White, with no powers.” Basically me when I was in elementary/middle school, now aged up a bit- very sheltered, very anxious. I got to develop my own costume with the approval of the director, so I went with a plaid button up shirt, a denim jumper, lacy ankle socks, and saddle shoes. Originally I had a red bandana in my hair as a headband, but Taylor pointed out (and rightly so) that Heather Chandler should be the only one with red. So I borrowed a blue bandanna from another cast member instead.

Speaking of my hair, though, I had the most killer wig. I think the best way to describe it is “someone from the 80s time traveled to the 90s, saw Rachel’s haircut on Friends, and then went back to the 80s and tried to describe it to their stylist.” It was a mullet and yet not a mullet. It was stellar and I adored it.

I also had another costume for the party; in the script it actually specifies that everyone at Ram’s party is in different costumes as different, cooler characters than their school ensemble selves, so I ran with it. My dress is actually my original Eleven cosplay dress, minus the the white collar, but it looked really great as an 80s party dress. I swapped out the bandanna for a headband with a tiny bow and the saddle shoes for floral-print boots (the same ones I wore for Chris in Carrie.)

And then there was Mrs. Sawyer. My wig is a glorious Betty Boop/Betty Rubble pile of curls- they wanted me to look more like Veronica, and the blonde mullet wasn’t going to cut it. The shoes are just my basic black character shoes, and the skirt was made from fabric and a zipper I scrounged up in my stash. The shirt, you ask? You might recognize the shirt.

It’s definitely not my gangster shirt. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Heathers only ran for one weekend, but it’s a show I could do over and over again and never get tired of it, no matter what role I’m playing. But I don’t think it would be able to top the cast of this production. Everyone was so talented and brought their A game 100%. It was such a great time.

And of course people came to visit it me, including a couple of Deadites!!

I’m going to do a tutorial for Vlogmas next month about how I did my 80s inspired Heathers look; it’s going to be super chatty and I’m going to talk about the show, so ask me all the questions you have down below!! I want to answer all your questions, about the show and my experience and theatre in general!!

In the meantime, I’m going to go serve some liverwurst and pretend it’s pate.

Evil Dead the Musical

It’s official!! If you watched my what’s in my audition bag video, you know that I auditioned for Evil Dead the Musical this past week, and if you follow me on Instagram or Tumblr you’ll know that I’ve been cast as Cheryl! I’m super excited. Cheryl is the younger sister who starts off as a sweet, easily spooked college girl who then gets turned into a foul mouthed demon- so a little different from what I usually play! I’m super excited (and now I have three shows to do in the next three months…yikes!!)